W H A T :
W H E N :
Screening at 7:00 pm,
doors open at 6:30 pm
W H E R E :
953 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park/Mt. Adams.
click for Directions & Map
T I C K E T S :
$7 tickets are ONLY available online, by phone, at the Museum, and at the door subject to availability.
To complete your night out, we've arranged discounts with two restaurants offering great food at reasonable prices:
Wednesday, January 30,
Vito's Cafe. Located 8-10 minutes from the Art Museum at 654 Highland Avenue, Ft. Thomas, KY.
CWC patrons attending DIVA on Wednesday night will receive a complimentary glass of wine ($6-10 value) before the film. Vito's is closed on Tuesdays, but if you attend the Tuesday film, simply take your ticket stub and dine on Wednesday.
Vito and Mary run an Italian-style neighborhood trattoria, featuring great soups, pasta and veal, chicken, beef and vegetarian entrees. Vito's Cafe is the home of the singing servers - you'll enjoy light opera and contemporary songs along with a great meal.
Read about Vito's Cafe in this Enquirer review. Reservations suggested, call 859.442.9444. Click for directions, menu and general info.
Wednesday, January 30, The Terrace Cafe at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Non-members attending on this night will receive the same 10% discount (excluding alcohol) extended to museum members. The restaurant fills up quickly on film nights, so reservations are recommended, call 513.639.2986. View menu here.
"A top-drawer French thriller, with romance, comedy, opera and murder! Gorgeous visuals, sound and music, one-of-a-kind characters, a sheer joy to watch!"
"One of the best thrillers of recent years, but more than that, a brilliant film and visual extravaganza that announces the considerable gifts of director Jean-Jacques Beineix."
Read the CityBeat review of Diva by Steve Rosen. (Also available on page 43 of the January 23-39 hardcopy edition.)
1982 saw the American release of the film that launched a second New Wave, the cinéma du look, of French cinema. DIVA, the debut creation of director Jean-Jacques Beineix, won four Césars (French Oscars) including Best First Film, Cinematography, Music and Sound.
An art-house sensation, DIVA, played for over a year in some cinemas, but had only brief exposure in Cincinnati. Now, with a new 35mm print, sound track, translation and subtitles, you can enjoy this unique and exciting thriller, full of comedy, romance, opera and murder!
NOTES ON THE CINÉMA DU LOOK
Diva single-handedly launched the Cinéma du look, an explosion of visually stunning, punk-inspired, super-cool French movies in the early 80s.
"The Cinéma du look was a French film movement of the 1980s. It referred to films that had a slick visual style and a focus on young, alienated characters that were said to represent the marginalized youth of Francois Mitterrand's France. The three main directors of the Cinéma du look were Jean-Jacques Beineix, Luc Besson and Leos Carax. Themes that run through many of their films include doomed love affairs, young people with peer groups rather than families, a cynical view of the police and the use of the Paris Métro to symbolize an alternative, underground society. The mixture of 'high' culture, such as the opera music of Diva and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf and pop culture, for example the references to Batman in Subway, was another key feature. Unlike most film movements, the Cinéma du look had no clear political ideology. -Wikipedia
Ginette Vincendeau, in her Companion to French Cinema (Cassell, 1996), defines the films made by Beineix, Besson and Carax as "youth oriented films with high production values… The "look" of the Cinéma du look refers to the films' high investment in non-naturalistic, self-conscious aesthetics, notably intense colors and lighting effects. Their spectacular (studio-based) and technically brilliant mise-en-scène is usually put to the service of romantic plots."
"Most of Beineix's feature films to date were released in a single decade, the 1980s, and he is generally seen as the best example of what came to be known as the Cinéma du look. This was one of the two new types of film to emerge in the 80s (the other being the heritage film), to join the other popular French genres of the comedy and the policier. The Cinéma du look was placed by many, including Beineix himself, in a position of confrontation with the cinema of the Nouvelle Vague - the New Wave. Just as Truffaut had famously attacked the filmmakers of the 1950's, the tradition de qualité, so did Beineix thirty years later by attacking the Nouvelle Vague and the establishment of critics who supported the modernist cinema it represented, for being out of touch with contemporary, and especially young, audiences." - Phil Powrie, Jean-Jacques Beineix (Manchester University Press, 2001)
Filmmaker, Crew & Cast
JEAN-JACQUES BEINEIX (Writer/Director)
Born in Paris on October 8, 1946, Beineix developed an interest in cinema at a young age. After discovering the medium through repeated viewings of old 16mm films at a local film club, he began making 8mm shorts with his friends when he was 16. During the 70s, he gave up studying medicine to start his career in film.
He became an established assistant director, working with Claude Berri, René Clément, Claude Zidi, Jean-Louis Trintignant and even Jerry Lewis (on the ill-fated The Day the Clown Cried). But, like many assistants, Beineix's ultimate dream was to direct. He had a chance in 1977 with the short film Le Chien de Monsieur Michel. A promising debut, it won the first prize at the Trouville Film Festival and earned a César nomination for Best Short Film (fiction).
In 1981 came Diva, which became an international hit, playing for over a year in some cinemas. Next came the expensive The Moon in the Gutter. Adapted from a David Goodis novel, the film was even more radical than Diva in its deliberate artificiality. The film was booed at its premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1983. Only few voices rose up to defend the movie but it was not enough to save it. It flopped at the box office but won a César award for Best Production Design.
Beineix bounced back in force in 1986 with 37°2 le matin (Betty Blue), based on a Philippe Djian novel. The film was another international hit, won the top prize at Montréal Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Foreign Film at both the Oscars and Golden Globes. It also earned 9 César nominations including Best Film and Best Director.
Beineix's next movie Roselyne et les lions (1989) was set in the circus world. In 1992, IP5 featured Yves Montand's last role. Beineix then resurfaced with social documentaries. He did a film about children in Romania; Otaku was shot in Japan; and Assigné à résidence was about locked-in syndrome victim Jean-Dominique Bauby, the subject of Julian Schnabel's recently released film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
In 2001, he returned to fiction with Mortel Transfert, a psychological thriller based on a Jean-Pierre Gattégno novel. In 2002, Beineix drew strong ratings with made-for-TV documentary Loft Paradox, an attempt to analyze the success of French reality show Loft Story.
With his intense focus on the power of images, Beineix paved the way for directors like Luc Besson, Leos Carax and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. With Diva and 37°2 le matin, he directed two of the few French films of the 80s that reached an international audience.
PHILIPPE ROUSSELOT (Cinematographer)
Among the most influential cinematographers of our time, Philippe Rousselot assisted Nestor Almendros on three Eric Rohmer films before graduating to director of photography in 1972. Rousselot had already enjoyed fruitful collaborations with directors Diane Kurys and Claude Goretta before landing in the spotlight with Jean-Jacques Beineix' s Diva. The film won him his first César award, as well as the Best Cinematography Award from the National Society of Film Critics, and kicked off a prestigious international career.
Rousselot won a second César for Alain Cavalier's Therese (1986) around the time he began venturing into English-language cinema, evoking the passions of the 18th century French aristocracy in Dangerous Liaisons (1988, ASC nomination for Best Cinematography) and those of 20th century literati Henry Miller and Anais Nin in Henry and June (1990, Oscar-nominated).
Rousselot has often worked with John Boorman, including on Hope and Glory (1987), which brought him a second Academy nomination and the British Society of Cinematographers award, and The Emerald Forest (1985). Woodlands have provided a showcase for some of Rousselot's finest work -- A River Runs Through It (1992), for which he earned a Best Cinematography Oscar, and The Bear (1988, ASC nomination), for which he built a number of camera mounts and other devices to ingeniously mimic a bear's-eye view of the world.
Rousselot returned to France to shoot the Patrice Chéreau's Queen Margot (1994), which earned him a third César. He subsequently provided the burnished tones for Neil Jordan's Interview with the Vampire (also 1994, winner of both the BAFTA and British Society of Cinematographer's award) and Stephen Frears' Mary Reilly (1996). In 1997, he stepped behind the camera to direct The Serpent's Kiss.
In the past few years he collaborated with Tim Burton -- Planet of the Apes, Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He is the cinematographer of The Brave One, directed by Neil Jordan and starring Jodie Foster, currently in theatres.
HILTON McCONNICO (Production Designer)
Born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1943, designer and artist Hilton McConnico has lived and worked in Paris since 1965 and has since established himself as one of the world's most accomplished designers.
After working in fashion for such designers as Ted Lapidus, Yves St. Laurent, and Balenciaga, he was set designer and art director for more than 20 films. He collaborated with Beineix on Diva and on 1983's The Moon in the Gutter, which earned him a César award for Best Production Design. He was also the production designer on Truffaut's final movie, Confidentially Yours! He then moved to the other side of the camera to produce some 30 commercials and video clips.
His collaboration with Daum Crystal began in 1987; some of his "Cactus" creations for the manufacturer were presented by former French President François Mitterrand to President George H. W. Bush as a gift of state. He was also the first American to have work permanently inducted into the Louvre's Decorative Arts collection. His "Cactus" creations and the "Pepper Carpets" of Toulemonde Bouchart are included in permanent collections throughout the world, including the decorative arts Museums of Paris, New York, Oslo and Lausanne.
McConnico continues to be active on the global design scene, especially in architecture and interior design. Recent projects include the Toupary restaurant on the fifth-floor of the historic Samaritaine department store in Paris and the Hermes Museum in Tokyo, which he conceived for the new Renzo Piano building in the famed Ginza shopping district. In 2005, the Sommet du luxe et de la creation (International luxury and design exhibition) recognized McConnico for his entire body of work with the Talent de L'Audace award. The January 2006 Scènes d'interiéur interior design exhibition paid him tribute in a retrospective created by McConnico himself.
VLADIMIR COSMA (Composer)
One of France and Europe's most distinguished film composers, Vladimir Cosma has scored more than 150 films and TV productions. Though he enjoyed almost immediate success in comedies, he continued experimenting with different styles and genres, and this versatility brought him international acclaim.
Born in 1940 in Bucharest, Romania, the son of a renowned conductor and concert pianist, Cosma studied music from his early years onward, eventually attending the National Conservatory in Bucharest (from which he graduated with two first prizes, for violin and composition). In 1963 he went to Paris to advance his studies at the French Conservatory, where, in addition to his classical background, he developed an interest in jazz, folk music, and film music. Between 1964 and 1967, he toured the world as a concert violinist, visiting the U.S., Latin America, and Southeast Asia. A meeting with popular film composer Michel Legrand became the first step towards his future career. Although Cosma always mentions Legrand's importance, he also admits the influence of such composers as Burt Bacharach and Henri Mancini.
In 1967, Cosma began his long-running partnership with film director Yves Robert for whom he scored the international hits The Tall Blond One with One Back Shoe (1972) and its sequel, as well as Marcel Pagnol's autobiographical diptych, La Gloire de Mon Père and Le Chateau de ma Mère (both in 1990). He also wrote the music for several comedies directed by Francis Veber and Gerard Oury, starring such hit French comedians as Pierre Richard and Louis de Funès.
One of his biggest international hits was the Satie-inspired impressionistic piano pieces for the soundtrack for Diva, for which he was awarded his first César. He received another César for Ettore Scola's Le Bal (1983), and the main instrumental theme from it became a hit worldwide. He also received a Cannes Film Festival award for the entire body of his work.
WILHELMENIA WIGGINS FERNANDEZ (Cynthia Hawkins)
The American Soprano was born Philadelphia in 1949. Ms Fernandez's early training was at the Philadelphia Academy of Vocal Arts, followed by a scholarship at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. Her operatic debut was as Bess in Porgy and Bess for the Houston Grand Opera, a production which then opened on Broadway and toured both the U.S. and Europe.
In 1979, she made her début in Paris as Musetta in La Boheme (with Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa) and sang the same role at the New York City Opera in 1982. It was while performing Musetta in Paris that she met Jean-Jacques Beineix. She recalls that he went backstage for an autograph. Then he just stood and watched. When Fernandez asked him, "Is there something else?" he asked her to read a script. "Me? In a film? I'm not an actress, I'm an opera singer", she reported. The next day she handed the script back with a refusal.
After Beineix convinced her to read the script with him, the idea grew more appealing. "I started thinking of reaching out to all those people who say they don't like opera because they don't understand it. I was hoping that I would entice more people to see opera."
Since Diva, the soprano has sung in operas and recitals in cities all over the world, her most notable roles were Carmen in Carmen Jones, for which she received the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1992 as Best Actress in a Musical, and Giuseppe Verdi's Aida, a role she has performed in Luxor and at the Pyramids in Egypt.
Unlike her character in Diva, she has made recordings of George Gershwin and of Black Spirituals.
FRÉDÉRIC ANDREI (Jules)
Born in 1959, the son of a famous veteran TV director, Andrei first appeared in films by Yves Boisset and Michel Deville before landing the role of the opera loving postman in Diva. The success of the film allowed him to direct a short the following year, then a feature film, Paris minuit, in 1986. As an actor he has been seen in Eric Heumann's Port Djema (1996) and Tonie Marshall's hit comedy, Venus Beauty Institute (1998).
RICHARD BOHRINGER (Gorodish)
Born in Moulins, France in 1942, Richard Bohringer began his film acting career in 1970 but did not make his first career breakthrough until Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro (1980), before being launched to international stardom by his role of Gorodish in Diva.
In 1985, director Luc Besson cast him in Subway, starring Isabelle Adjani and Christopher Lambert. That same year, Bohringer received a Best Supporting Actor César for his role in Denis Amar's 1984 prison melodrama L'Addition. In 1988, he received his second César, this time as Best Actor, for Jean-Loup Hubert's Le Grand Chemin. In 1989 he was The Cook in Peter Greenaway's The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover.
Counting some 130 roles to date in both feature films and TV, Bohringer has notably worked Claude Miller, Patrice Leconte, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Kim Ki-Duk, Robin Davis, Charles Matton, Peter Bogdanovich, Michel Deville, Jean-Charles Tachella, and others. In 1997, he won France's TV award Sept D'Or for his performance in the mini-series Un homme en colére.
Bohringer is the author of plays, scripts, books and travel writings, and has also directed for cinema and TV, notably the 2003 feature, C'est beau une ville la nuit, based on his 1988 book. A lover of Africa, Bohringer took Senegalese citizenship in 2002.
THUY AN LUU (Alba)
Discovered by Beineix's casting director Dominique Besnehard, the supposedly-15-year-old Thuy An Luu impressed the director so much that he rewrote the part of Lolita-like Alba, changing her from a North African to a Vietnamese girl. She subsequently appeared in a handful for films and TV productions, then dropped out of sight in the late 80s.
DOMINIQUE PINON (The Priest)
Rubber-faced French actor Dominique Pinon was born in 1955. It was casting director Dominique Besnehard who recommended him to Beineix for the role of the laconic man, The Priest, in Diva, a role that brought him to international attention and remains among his signature roles. In 1983, Pinon received a César nomination as Most Promising Actor for his performance in The Return of Martin Guerre (1982).
His unusual and pronounced features led him to play a series of secondary characters in important films. He was the alcoholic brother of Gérard Depardieu in Beineix's second feature The Moon in the Gutter (1983), a bum in Ermanno Olmi's The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988) and a vagabond in Roman Polanski's Frantic (1988).
Diva aside, Pinon is best known for his work with Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. His malleable, idiosyncratic features made him seem a natural part of Caro and Jeunet's surreal landscape, as demonstrated in both Delicatessen (1991) and La Cité Des Enfants Perdus (The City of Lost Children, 1995). In 1997, he collaborated with Jeunet alone on a rare American outing, Alien Resurrection, in which he played a paralyzed mechanic opposite Sigourney "Ripley" Weaver and Wynona Ryder. In 2001 and 2005, Jeunet cast him once again in the international smash hit, Amelie, and A Very Long Engagement. In 2004, he received the Moliére Award (France's national theatre award) for his comic performance in a Roland Topor play.
GÉRARD DARMON (The Caribbean)
Born in Paris in 1948, Gérard Darmon has played a wide variety of roles in many different genres to become one of France's most popular supporting actors. His first major role was in Gérard Oury's farce, The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob (1973), but it was Diva and Alexandre Arcady's Jewish gangster epic, Le Grand Pardon (1981), that brought him critical and public attention. He received his first César nomination as Best Supporting Actor in Beineix' 37°2 le matin (Betty Blue, 1986) and became a regular player in a series of Claude Lelouch films.
Darmon won his second Best Supporting Actor César nomination for Astérix et Obélix: Mission Cléopatre (2002) and co-starred opposite Nick Nolte in Neil Jordan's The Good Thief, a remake of Rialto Pictures' Bob Le Flambeur. Winner of the Jean Gabin Prize in 1983, Darmon recently branched out into music with two albums of pop songs and a couple of performances at the prestigious Olympia Music Hall in Paris.
JACQUES FABBRI (Saporta)
Distinguished French actor Jacques Fabbri was born in Paris in 1925. He was the founder of a theatrical company. In 1965, he directed A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Comédie Française and made his debut as film director with the comedy Les pieds dans le platre. In his long career as a character actor, he appeared in many plays and films, including Jacques Becker's Rendez-vous de Juillet (1949) and René Clair's Les Grandes Manoevres (1955). He died in 1997.
An Interview with Jean-Jacques Beineix
BEINEIX ON DIVA
Irène Silberman called me and asked "Did you read Diva?" I said no but that I would. I read it the same day and it was incredible because I was immediately taken by the characters. By the singer, by the postman - who wasn't a postman in the novel but a delivery man for a record company - I was seduced by this character, his solitude, his passion, the fact that he is a collector. And I was seduced by this love story paired with the police intrigue and the mystery. It was a genre movie, and at the same time it touched all genres. At the time we used to make autobiographical films. This film was the opposite, it was a commissioned film but one where I could include a lot of myself without anyone realizing it, because, in fact, the postman Jules is a little bit me.
Diva tells the story of our time, the story of the artist facing the mechanism of production. It's a movie that deals with the situation of the artist faced with the means of recording. The subject matter is very modern; Diva is very, very, modern. When you see the movie again today you realize it hasn't aged.
I put in this picture everything there was. The scenery around us today is artificial, with drawings on the walls, advertisements, the décor. We live in a world of décors, we live in a fake world, and this fake world is a reality, our daily life. And Diva plays with all this, including the classic characters of the detective novel who have been diverted. It's a diversion of genres.
It's the mission of the artist to invent, to provoke, to be subversive and different. Everywhere I found conventions and archetypes in filmmaking. With 80 years of cinema behind us, I could not understand why so many movies kept saying things in the same way. I wanted to regain the pleasure of surprise that I had as a kid. While filming Diva I did everything and anything but, at the same time, with a kind of conviction, with sincerity and without distancing. I was asking incredible things from Philippe Rousselot who used to assume the lotus position to calm down, dripping with sweat. Serge Silberman used to threaten to stop filming every other day. Ully Pickard, the head of production would say "You need a crane, but will you know how to use it?" I was close to saying, "Shut up, I invented the crane!"
And then there was the wonderful meeting with Wilhelmenia, with whom I fell immediately in love and I became the postman. And there was Dominique Pinon whom I had wanted for the first movie I was supposed to do and never did - I had written a script. There it was – a miracle!
When the movie came out, I really had the impression I had made my first and last movie because the reviews were horrendous. I was butchered. They said I had grandiose taste, that the movie cost a fortune, that there was no script. Some journalists liked it, but they didn't know what to write about it. Diva is unique. It can't be done again. The career of this film is unique. When I say that I felt I made two movies for the price of one, my first and my last one, it's because the film at first was a catastrophe. Few remember this because in the end it was seen by one million people in Paris, but the first year only one hundred thousand people saw it. It was at a stand-still after one year. Can you imagine a film today in theaters for one year with one hundred thousand viewers and after one year, boom, suddenly one million viewers in Paris alone?
I insist that it is a very modern film, but I shouldn't be saying that, I will sound pretentious. Yet luck, the novel and the characters make it a modern film, with modern actors. But it was another era. The cinema has changed since then. That's the way it is. There will be other genres, but I don't know if there will be other Divas.
BEINEIX ON "HIS" DIVA
The first time I saw her, she was smashing plates with incomparable authority on the immense stage of the Opéra de Paris. A black and capricious Musetta, dressed in red velvet, beautiful and violent, she already fascinated me, and then there was her voice, perfectly round and velvety, her singing perfectly sustained by the physical involvement in the part. I had found my Diva.
Many months of research, trips, and meetings: the black divas of London, Munich, and New York; a list that we thought was complete and to which there was always one more name to add. After the performance, I did not go to see her. I needed to wait for the excitement to pass, for only then I would know if the dream was reality.
It became a reality the next day, when she appeared in my non-descript office, in a red dress and an immense purple shawl. She was very simple and I suddenly found myself in the difficult situation of having to ask her to play a diva. We talked; she knew nothing about cinema, I knew nothing about opera, everything was possible, so why not shoot an opera-policier?
As I watched Wilhelmenia, I knew that she was Cynthia Hawkins, the diva, and that no one else would play that part. Cinema, shooting: the time when the exceptional meets the ordinary. She worked extremely professionally, with dignity, always on time and diligent.
Through her I understood that opera is a form of asceticism that many movie actors should turn to for inspiration. It is impossible to reduce a person to a sum of qualities and faults. I treasure the memory of a passionate woman, possessed by music, terrorized before a concert, jubilant after it, always ready to burst into flames over one note. She was Diva, and Diva was how I wanted her. I will never forget when we went to London, before the film, to record the music ... her excitement, and mine, as she advanced alone, in front of the musicians of the London Orchestra, and then, finally liberated from the stage fright that oppressed her, her voice started to rise...
For that Wally, I will be forever grateful.
THE OPERA IN DIVA
"When the film was finished, I asked several prominent people in the opera world to see the film, not to give me a judgment of it as a film, but to see if the music could stand up to the scrutiny of experts. They said yes, but I was still concerned if it would stand up to American opera lovers." - Beineix
La Wally is a four-act opera composed by Alfredo Catalani to a libretto by Luigi Illica and first performed at La Scala, Milan on January 20, 1892. The libretto is based on a theatre piece by Wilhelmine von Hillern (1836-1916), Die Geyer-Wally, Eine Geschichte aus den Tyroler Alpen (literally: "The Vulture-Wally"). The story is set in a village in Tyrol. The father of the heroine, Schrodinger, wants to arrange a marriage for her that she does not want. Wally instead leaves her home with the minstrel Hagenbach.
The opera is best known for its aria Ebben? Ne andró lontana, (Act I), sung when Wally decides to leave her home forever. It is a must in the repertoire and recitals of the greatest sopranos, yet before Diva it was mostly unknown to larger audiences. Cynthia Hawkins sings this aria in the recital that opens Diva, and the aria is featured prominently throughout the film. Following are the lyrics:
Ebben? Ne andró lontana,
come va l'eco della pia campana...
lá, fra la neve bianca,
lá, fra le nubi d'or...
lá dove é la speranza,
la speranza, il rimpianto, il rimpianto,
e il dolor!
O della madre mia casa gioconda
la Wally ne andrá da te,
da te, lontana assai,
e forse a te, e forse a te,
non fará mai piú ritorno, ne piú la rivedrai.
Mai piú, mai piú.
Ne andró sola e lontana,
come l'eco della pia campana...
lá, fra la neve bianca.
Ne andró, ne andró,
sola e lontana...
E fra le nubi d'or!